Monday Mornings with Madison

Sense of Humor and Success, Part 1

Word Count: 1,409
Estimated Read Time: 5 ½ Min.

Did you hear the one about the Spanish-speaking magician?  He told the audience he would disappear on the count of three.  “Uno.”  “Dos.”  But he disappeared without a Tres.

That may not have made you laugh (except maybe for its corniness), but laughing is good for us.  Humor acts a mood enhancer and a kind of grease that soothes friction points between people.  It’s like WD 40 for the soul.  Reframing a negative event in a humorous light acts as a kind of emotional filter, preventing the negativity from triggering depression.  In fact, studies have shown that it actually helps people who suffer from depression from relapsing and those at risk of depression from having a depressive episode. Continue reading

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Being Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

Word Count: 1,624
Estimated Read Time: 6 ½ Min.

Comfort.  We all desire comfort; lots of elbow room and loads of personal space. The word itself conjures images of luxury.  We want our homes to have pillow top mattresses, plush cushions, soft blankets, and reclining padded chairs.  We want to wear comfortable clothing like sherpa-lined hoodies, fleece-lined jogging pants, and luxuriant terry-cloth robes.  We want to eat comfort foods, like gooey grilled cheese sandwiches, creamy mashed potatoes, warm buttered biscuits, soft banana bread, and, of course, mom’s chicken noodle soup.  And when it comes to our emotional and mental well-being, we all strive to stay ‘in our comfort zone’… that place where things are familiar, balanced and even a little predictable. Continue reading

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Overcoming the Positivity Paradox

What could possibly be wrong with being positive?  People love a person with a positive attitude.  Positive people are usually smiling, cheerful and enthusiastic.  At work, they have a can-do disposition and a cheerleader-like energy.  They want to encourage everyone around them to do their best and be their best.  Super positive people always look at the bright side of any situation and are unflappable in their genial disposition.  These perpetuators of positivity are ready to praise every plan, support every initiative and embrace every idea.  When they aren’t using their hands to applaud, they are busy patting coworkers on the back or high-fiving colleagues in the hallway. Continue reading

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Driving Your “Me” with Your “My”, Part 2

Word Count: 1,760
Estimated Read Time: 7 Min.

A century ago, the idea of conservation, preservation and sustainability was still fairly novel.  Manufacturing was changing the way the world made and consumed goods.  Assembly lines and piece work were becoming the norm.  Manufacturing lowered the price of goods making it possible for the multitudes to afford tools that allowed them to live easier, more comfortable lives.   Thanks to manufacturing and technological advances, men and women became more independent, self-reliant and free to pursue education and opportunities.  Free from the grind to survive, people could focus on taking care of “me/I” and worry less about taking care of the greater good.  With all the advances, population soared.  What emerged was consumptive consumerism, waste and pollution. Continue reading

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Driving Your “Me” with Your “My”, Part 1

Word Count: 1,651
Estimated Read Time: 6 1/2 Min.

Most companies are driven by a desire to “do well” — make money, grow, increase brand reputation, gain influence, etc.  Professionals are usually driven by the same desires – make money, gain prominence and respect, increase power and control, rise through the ranks, etc.  Doing well is inner-focused.  It is driven by I and Me, as in ‘I lead a profitable company’ and ‘This raise is a financial boon for me’.   In the U.S., admiration is bestowed on individuals and businesses that do well according to these measures.  It is a competitive landscape that rewards self-interest and self-promotion.

Then there are those who are driven to “do good.”  “Doing good” is different from “doing well.”  Doing good is outwardly focused.  It is about helping those in need, making the world a better place, solving global problems, and caring about the community and collective.  It is outward-focused and other-centered.   It is driven by My and Our… as in ‘My community matters’ and ‘We need to care for our planet.’  Doing good is fueled by a sense of personal responsibility for the greater good. Continue reading

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Why Personality Type Matters at Work – Part 5

Word Count: 1,688
Estimated Read Time: 6 1/2 Min.

Hiring and Neuroticism

Call someone “neurotic” and it will surely be taken as an insult or slight.  But the truth is that everyone has some degree of neuroticism in their personality.  It is not an insult, any more than saying that being introverted or casual or reticent is an insult.  That’s because Neuroticism is the fifth of the personality traits in the OCEAN Model or Big Five Personality Model.  (Over the last month, we already looked at the other four areas: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, and Agreeableness.)  Naturally, we left neuroticism for last.  It just sounds so negative.

So what is neuroticism?  Neuroticism reflects how a person deals with negative emotions including fear, sadness, anxiety, guilt and shame.  These are emotions everyone experiences, but how much they affect us and how we deal with them varies from person to person.  This reflects their degree of neuroticism on the spectrum.  On one end are those people who have a high degree of neuroticism.  Those are people who experience negative emotions more intensely and/or more often.  On the other end of the spectrum are those who have a very low degree of neuroticism and are not affected by negative emotions as much. Continue reading

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Why Personality Type Matters at Work – Part 4

Word Count: 1,645
Estimated Read Time: 6 1/2 Min.

Hiring for Openness

Openness is one of the Big Five personality traits.  It is the trait that most people are happy to possess in the extreme.  No one readily admits to being closed-minded or enjoying repetition and ruts.  Few will own that they don’t have a single creative bone in their body.  But the truth is that people come with a variety of personality features, including degrees of openness.  So how does the openness personality trait manifest in reality, and how does that impact a person professionally? Continue reading

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Why Personality Type Matters at Work – Part 3

Personality not only plays a big part in how we get along with others, it also plays a HUGE part in how well we handle the demands of life.  Personality impacts not only how we do in school, but how well we do at work and in life.  Our personality influences our behavior.  One might even say that personality and behavior are inextricably linked.  Personality is what makes up our qualities and peculiarities. Continue reading

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Why Personality Type Matters at Work – Part 2

Word Count: 1,645
Estimated Read Time: 5 1/2 Min.

Hiring for Agreeableness

Personality plays a BIG part in how we get along with others.  Of course, this impacts not only one’s personal life but professional life as well.  Our personality is always with us, influencing what we think, what we feel, and how we behave.

Each person’s personality is comprised of five broad personality traits.  A trait is also referred to as an attribute, characteristic, feature, particularity, peculiarity, or quality.  Known as the Big Five, these traits were defined in the 1970s by two research teams led by Paul Costa and Robert R. McCrae of the National Institutes of Health and Warren Norman and Lewis Goldberg of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and the University of Oregon.  The Big Five are the ingredients that make up each individual’s personality.  The acronym spells OCEAN. Continue reading

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Why Personality Type Matters at Work – Part 1

Word Count: 1,895
Estimated Read Time: 8 Min.

Psychologists universally agree that personality plays a huge role in our everyday lives.  Everything people do reflects their personality.  It is always with us, influencing what we think, what we feel, and how we behave.  One might say that personality is embedded in our behavioral DNA.  Personality affects how people interact with one another and how well-suited people are for the type of work they do.  So while we can override our natural personality inclinations, it is not advisable or wise. Continue reading

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